Michigan announces surplus salmon available to public again this fall

The public is invited again this year to purchase surplus salmon that has been harvested at Michigan Department of Natural Resources weirs located in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Seasonal salmon runs include large numbers of fish returning to their native streams to spawn and die. The DNR maintains multiple sites (weirs) where fisheries biologists and technicians collect eggs and milt (sperm) from Chinook and coho salmon for use in state fish hatcheries. Once egg-take needs are met, fish in prime physical condition are made available to the public by American-Canadian Fisheries (ACF), a private vendor that assists the DNR with the salmon harvest.

ACF harvests the salmon for human- and pet-food markets, as well as excess eggs for bait and caviar markets. ACF pays the DNR a flat per-pound rate for the salmon and eggs collected. They then make suitable-quality fish available wholesale to distributors who market the fish. All of this year’s distributors are located in the northern Lower Peninsula.

“We work closely with ACF to maintain a professional approach to dealing with the returning salmon and to ensure the harvest is done in the most environmentally friendly way,” said Aaron Switzer, the DNR’s Northern Lower Peninsula hatchery manager. “The number of fish returning to our rivers is large enough that the DNR needs the assistance of private partners like ACF to help in this area of fishery management.”

Egg-take activities are dependent on weather and stream temperature conditions. The price of the available fish is set by each individual retailer, not the DNR. It is recommended that you directly contact the respective vendors (listed below) to determine when you can make a purchase and for how much.

The Michigan Department of Community Health recommends caution when eating certain kinds and sizes of fish from Michigan lakes and streams. For current advisories, the Eat Safe Fish Guide should be consulted. It is available online at michigan.gov/eatsafefish or by contacting MDCH at 1-800-648-6942.

Here is the list of Michigan retailers selling salmon harvested at DNR weirs:

Andy’s Tackle Box
14573 Coates Highway
Brethren, MI 49619

AuSable River Store
680 W. River Road
Oscoda, MI 48750

Hank and Sons
16441 Coates Highway
Brethren, MI 49609

Lixie’s Fish Market
2699 Lixie Beach
East Tawas, MI 48060

R & J Resort
3070 Keith Road
Brethren, MI 49619

Wellman’s Bait & Tackle
410 S. State St. #309
Oscoda, MI 48750